CRIZ BON APPETITE

Savoring The Best All Over Town…

Japanese beverages are not only on green tea or sake but also on coffee as of today Japan is among the world’s largest importers of coffee. With this statistic, coffee lovers from around the globe are eyeing on Japan’s booming specialty coffee scene with vast imports of coffee beans from great coffee-growing countries around the world. There are various preparation methods available such as aeropress, French press, paper drip and more to cater to the needs of its consumers. Penangites would be happy as a famous Japanese coffee has landed on the shore. Doutor Coffee Japan continues to grow in Malaysia with its fourth outlet now in Gurney Plaza Penang, Malaysia. The opening ceremony is officiated by the Executive Chairman of Texchem Resources Bhd, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri (Dr) Fumihiko Konishi and President of Doutor Nichires Holdings Co. Ltd., Mr. Masanori Hoshino.

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The very first Doutor outlet in Tokyo’s Harajuku district which was founded in 1980 by Mr. Hiromichi Toriba was a teeny-tiny 30sqm. Despite its humble beginnings, today Doutor Coffee has an international presence throughout outlets in Taiwan, Singapore and now in Malaysia; with three outlets opened late last year – in Aeon Tebrau, Johor Bahru, Sunway Velocity Mall and Aeon Bukit Tinggi. “While the coffee market is growing all over South-East Asia, Doutor decided to open in Malaysia because they found a good partner in the Texchem Group, which owns 106 Sushi King Outlets in Malaysia, so they know what to do, and we can expand easily,” says Mr. Minoru Mori, the Deputy Managing Director of Doutor Malaysia.

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Doutor Coffee is renowned for its roasted beans, which are open-flame roasted, a method that takes a lot of time and involves a labyrinthine process that yields complex, richly flavored coffee beans. As open-flame roasting traditionally only allows for 5kg to 20kg of coffee to be roasted at a time, Doutor developed its own industrialized open-flame roasting equipment to achieve the results that it wanted, using larger quantities of coffee. According to Director of Doutor Nichires Holdings Co., Ltd who is also a Master Roaster; Mr. Masahiro Kanno personally goes to select the beans that Doutor uses from over 10,000 plantations from all over the world, including its very own plantation in Kona, Hawaii. As such, Doutor Coffee practices the ‘3 FRESH’ philosophy; freshly roasted, freshly ground and freshly brewed. Doutor ensures that it provides freshly brewed coffee and fresh food inspired by Japan which is prepared upon order.

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The Doutor chain in Malaysia is designed to cater to the different Malaysian taste buds with a beverage menu that not only offers Espresso-based coffee, mixed blends, and hand-brewed coffee of single origin, but also whips up non-coffee beverages for non-coffee drinkers. The hot food choices are prepared fresh and are inspired by Japanese elements and ingredients. There are also a range of cakes, desserts and pastries. Serving artisanal coffee with a modern and contemporary ambience which offers comfortable experiences for their patrons, Doutor aims to be a local hangout spot for ‘Penangites’.

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Now let’s head onto some of items served in Doutor Coffee Japan in Penang. Firstly, let’s look at their beverages section where they have Hand Brewed Coffee (RM8.90), Honey Latte (RM12.90), Cafe Mocha (RM11.90), Signature Crème Brulee Latte (RM15.90), Signature Military Latte (RM15.90) and a specially concocted beverage for Penang, the Fizzy Berry Soda (RM13.90).

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I quite like the Military Latte as it had the prefect ratio of espresso and matcha to my liking. Moreover, their Signature Crème Brulee Latte was superb as the creamy bitterness combined with the burned crisp of the added brown sugar was simply irresistible.

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Next, we have the pasta section where you could try out their Signature Spaghetti (RM14.90), Seafood Tomato Sauce Spaghetti (RM16.90), Mentai Shrimp Spaghetti (RM18.90), Carbonara with Yolk & Bacon Spaghetti (RM15.90) and more. Somehow, their Signature Spaghetti caught my attention the most as the overall dish was colorful and had all the ingredients which I like such as chicken ham, sausage, shimeji mushroom, eggplant, tomato, spinach, onsen egg and sesame. Each mouthful was truly well balanced and heavenly.

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As for the rice dishes, we also tried out their Fluffy Soufflé Doria (RM19.90) and Fluffy Omu Rice (RM17.90). Both were equivalent tasty but I fancy the Fluffy Soufflé Doria more due to its unique presentation.

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There was also the sandwich section where everyone can indulge into their Shrimp Avocado Sandwich (RM14.90), Shrimp & Tuna Sandwich (RM14.90), Sukiyaki Beef Sandwich (RM14.90), Tuna Cheddar Sandwich (RM12.90) and Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich (RM12.90). I quite like the Tuna Cheddar Sandwich with the oozy cheesiness.

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As for desserts, they do have many signature items to tempt your sweet tooth. Some of them include Matcha Soufflé Pancake (RM14.90), Vanilla Soufflé Pancake (RM13.90), Matcha Soufflé (RM8.90), Vanilla Soufflé (RM8.90) and Caramel French Toast (RM15.90).

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Since the options in different outlets may differ a bit, do click on the Penang outlet menu to enlarge to have a clearer view:

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Overall, I’m pleased with the spreads available here as it caters for all ages under one roof. Moreover, each dish is not more than RM20. Some of the dishes such as their Signature Spaghetti, soufflés and coffee are rather interesting with the right taste and texture to my liking. However, services during peak hours of the day could be a bit chaotic. Please bear in mind that they are still new and would need some time to get everything in proper.

Doutor Coffee Japan is located at the al fresco area of Gurney Plaza, opposite G Hotel and next to Dome.

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Name: DOUTOR COFEE JAPAN @ GURNEY PLAZA
Address: 170-G-41 Ground Floor (al fresco area), Gurney Plaza, Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: N/A
Business Hours: 10.00am-10.00pm (Sunday-Thursday), 10.00am-11.00pm (Friday & Saturday)
GPS: 5.437830, 100.310012

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 7/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

About Doutor Malaysia: D&N Coffee and Restaurant Malaysia Sd.n Bhd. was established as a joint venture company between Texchem Restaurant Systems Sdn. Bhd. (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Texchem Resources Bhd) and D&N International Co. Ltd. from Japan, making it one of the newest subsidiaries under the Texchem Group of Companies. D&N Coffee and Restaurant Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. aims to continue expanding more outlets in 2017 under its brand.
 

BIG COFFEE – A CAFÉ OUT FROM NOWHERE IN LUNAS KULIM KEDAH

Posted by crizlai On January - 3 - 2016

“Curiosity kills the cat” may be a common term used but it sure did not kill this adventurous cat. In fact, it fattened him up even more~ LOL~ 😛 At times, we should just leave everything behind, go for a short excursion to some place secluded, adapt to its environment and find out more on what it has to offer. To my luck, I stumbled upon a small make shift café named Big Coffee along the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim). The “café” served a variety of beverages from coffee, tea, chocolate to some local beverages.

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If you are a regular at a certain coffee chain, you would know about volume for Tall (12 US fl oz/350ml), Grande (16 US fl oz/470ml), Venti (20 US oz/590ml) or even their Trenta (31 US fl oz/920ml – at times known as “Thirty”). What about something bigger (42 US fl oz/1.24L – at times known as “Forty”) with a cute container to bring home for just RM10nett? If more than a liter of coffee were to be too big for you, you can always opt for their so called “Trenta” size at RM7nett with a cute container or “Venti” size at RM5nett with normal disposable container. You can choose the color of your container too (transparent – RM5 each, big container without white base – RM7 each and big container with white base/football shaped – RM10).

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Here’s my JUMBO SIZE “FORTY” Iced Horlick at RM10nett.

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The best part of the deal is that you can order anything listed based on the price (RM5/RM7/RM10) and not on the type of beverage ordered. Beverages type which mostly are Thailand-imported include Vanilla, Mixed Coffee, Latte, Mocha, Milo, Red Tea, Horlick, Nescafe, Chocolate, Cappuccino, White Coffee, Green Tea, Classic Coffee, a variety of Cordial Juices and more.

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Overall, I would say the beverage was quite concentrated with quite a reasonably quality thick plastic container. Though the sweetness could be a bit too much for my sugar intake, it was still a great bargain as the containers (RM7 & RM10 ones) can be recycled.

It’s not really hard to locate the little shed by the roadside but you have to slow down and keep a watch out for it as it could be highly congested at times. From Butterworth towards Kulim/Baling/Pengkalan Hulu via Butterworth-Kulim Expressway (Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim), you would need to pay RM1.60 toll. Upon paying and exiting the toll booth, drive another 11KM (pass Kulim Hi-Tech Park junction) and you would reach Big Coffee & Tea by the roadside on your left. When you see Dongwha Malaysia (Kulim Branch) on your left, slow down and drive another 250m ahead towards your destination. You can see the Sime Darby factory directly opposite the “café”. As this is an expressway with high traffic, please make sure that the road is all clear before making any turn. The best way to reach Big Coffee is to key in the GPS (5.487308, 100.600595) onto your WAZE app and set to go.

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Name: BIG COFFEE
Address: Butterworth-Kulim Expressway roadside at Lunas, Kulim, Kedah.
Contact: N/A
Business Hours: 11.00am-6.30pm (daily)
GPS: 5.487308, 100.600595

RATING:
Ambience: 5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 6/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 6/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 5/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Many of you are aware that St Giles Wembley Hotel, Penang, is offering great spreads of buffet at their Wembley Café but are you aware that they do also have Cake & Coffee Promotion right at their Lobby Lounge? Currently, their Lobby Lounge is offering its Cake & Coffee Promotion from 2.00pm until 6.00pm daily right until the end of August 2015. For every piece of cake you order at RM23nett each, you would have a choice of in-house coffee or tea brew on the house. At the moment, they have 3 options such as their Raspberry Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Banana Cake and Durian Cheese Cake.

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If you are in need of a comfortable and quiet spot for a short meeting or even chill out with your friends or family members, this is the ideal venue. There are many secluded areas too for your total privacy. Other than just cakes and coffee, they do also have an extensive spread of main meals, snacks and beverages.

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Overall, if you are a dessert lover and like to chill out at a comfortable spot away from all those overcrowded cafes, you would find that the Lobby Lounge is the ideal place to indulge in your dessert with a calm peace of mind. After all, the pricing for a set of cake and coffee would not be as exorbitant as some of those cafes out there.

To get to the Lobby Lounge, just walk into the main entrance of the hotel and head to your right. You would see a bunch of friendly staff at your service.

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Name: LOBBY LOUNGE @ ST GILES WEMBLEY HOTEL
Address: 183, Jalan Magazine, 13000 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-259 8000
Business Hours: 12.00pm–12:00am (Sundays–Thursdays), 12.00pm–1.00am (Fridays & Saturdays)
GPS: 5.413164, 100.330428

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 8/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

Are you aware that there’s a fun spot within Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa premises named F.I.P. (Fun, Interactive & Play) Lounge? It’s a real cool spot to chill out and have frothing good fun with your friends and besties. Regardless your age, you would always feel young-at-heart while you are here. Currently, FIP Lounge is offering its Coffee & Cakes Buffet from 3.00pm until 6.00pm on all weekends (Saturday & Sunday) for RM47nett (adult) and RM24nett (child: 6-11 years old). You would expect to get at least 10 variety of cakes, scones, cake pops and more with free flow of in-house coffee and tea brews. Thanks to the hotel’s seasoned cake maven cum Executive Pastry Chef, Chef Dino Wan and his creative pastry team, you would get to savor the best of cakes and pastries right in the comfort of the lounge.

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The variety of cakes might be different from day to day. Let’s have a look at what would be on display on a typical Coffee & Cakes Buffet weekend. Here were the 10 cakes I have tried out with 4 as my personal favorites.

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Of course my first choice would be their Signature Baked Cheese Cake. It was moist and had that unique cheesy flavor from the best Kraft’s Philadelphia Soft Cream Cheese with some hint of yoghurt and lemon juice. It was heavenly over a cup of hot tea.

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Next on my list was the Strawberry Short Cake. What I loved about this cake was the strawberry mousse-like cream with some mild sweetness which made my guilt of consuming sweet desserts at its lowest level~ 😛

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The Carrot Cake was amazing tasty. In fact this cake was the favorite amongst many of us. The cake was rich and moist with some tasty bites on the nutrients packed finely shredded carrots.

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Since the invention in the 30’s until today, the Red Velvet Cake is something that will not go out of style. It’s not the striking red color that attracted me but the nice zesty frosting that caught my attention. The baker did quite a great job here by maintaining the moist and fluffiness of the cake while having a nice balance between the zesty and sweet buttermilk cream. It complemented the cake real well.

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They also do serve some great Popsicle (Pop) Cakes with flavors ranging from Chocolate Moist, Orange Poppy Seeds, Red Velvet and Cheese Cake. These are actually cakes rolled into a ball with popsicle sticks and coated with either white or dark chocolates. Of course, my favorite amongst the 4 options was the Cheese Cake Pop. It really felt young having one pop cake slowly melting into the mouth~ 😛

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There were also two versions of Cupcakes (Chocolate Moist & Orange Poppy Seeds) and Scones available at the buffet. Though the cupcakes were moist, flavorful and beautiful, I’m not a fan of so much of butter cream on the cupcakes. They tend to be surfeit after a bite or two to my liking. However, the scones were quite good except I would prefer mine to be slightly heated up before serving. You can have some scones with fresh cream and strawberries. On top of that, they do also serve 3 different flavors of mini jars gluten-free Bonne Maman fruit preserves. Just as its name, it’s how your granny would serve you with all natural ingredients. Bonne Maman has no preservatives, no additives, no corn syrup, sulfite-free and non-GMO.

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Of course, you can get high with as much Coffee & Tea as you like here. The beverages are all in-house brews with accompanied sugar and milk.

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If you are not into the Coffee & Cakes Buffet, you can still order a thing or two from their normal day menu. Well, the menu would be rather unique as it would come in the shape of a long forgotten childhood origami shaped flower. Flip & Flap and you would let fate decide your destiny – food wise~ LOL~ 😛

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At the F.I.P Lounge, it’s all about letting your hair down, stay young at heart, have all the fun you have missed and doing what you Momma would discourage you to do – “Eat nicely and stop playing with your food!” Shhh… Don’t tell my Momma about what I did and I won’t tell yours~ LOL~ 😛

Firstly, they have the Tic-Tac-Toe Macarons (RM41nett). They would serve 5 pieces each of two different macaron flavors with a Tic-Tac-Toe board. Just make sure you don’t gobble up the macarons before the start of at least a game~ 🙂

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Next, they have the Checkers Platter (RM42nett). You would be given a board with 12 pieces each of Crab Cake and Chicken Bourdin. Now the game would get to be real interesting as you can eat each other’s food.

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They do serve Churros (RM30nett) too with salted caramel and chocolate sauce.

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If you love fondue, you can always order their Dark Chocolate Fondue (RM53nett) with bananas, strawberries, marshmallows and dried apricots.

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My sweet favorite would always be the Black Forest Mini Dessert Pizza (RM24nett) with chocolate cherry brownie cake base, served with dark chocolate, cherry syrup, icing sugar and a large scoop of their homemade vanilla ice cream. This item is truly heavenly.

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For coffee and tea lovers, you can have other options such as Cappuccino (RM13nett), Irish Coffee (RM31nett – alcoholic), Hot Chocolate (RM13nett), Café Latte (RM13nett), Chamomile Tea (RM16nett/pot) and more. Some of the coffee might come with 2D or 3D latte art.

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In case you need a beer on a humid day, there do also have Beer in Ice Mug. The price may vary from brand to brand such as Guinness & Carlsberg (RM27nett/mug), Asahi & Heineken (RM30nett/mug) plus Victoria Bitter, Budweiser & Corona (RM33nett/mug).

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Overall, if you are a dessert lover, you would find that the F.I.P. Lounge’s Coffee & Cakes Buffet is worth every penny as you can gobble down all the cakes you love with some of their nice brews. Moreover, you can have all the fun you want with all the facilities they have in the lounge.

To get to the F.I.P Lounge, just park your car at the furthest right wing of the hotel upon entering the hotel premises. Walk through the main lobby and you can see the entrance to the lounge.

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Name: FIP LOUNGE @ RASA SAYANG RESORT & SPA
Address: Batu Feringgi Beach, 11100 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-888 8888, 604-888 8788 (C&C Buffet Reservation)
GPS: 5.478365, 100.253709

RATING:
Ambience: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 7.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

 

COFFEE ISLAND IN PENANG

Posted by Criz Lai On January - 3 - 2009

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The latest happening in town other than the New World Park would be the newly open Coffee Island situated along the promenade of Gurney Drive. It has the buzzing crowd ranging from families, YUPpies (Young Urban Professionals), college and school students. Moving into the premises was like being greeted by a mini party of giggles and laughs, setting the mood of the environment to happy and lively modes.

Coffee Island could be a great place for those who love to drop in for late breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner, supper or even early breakfast in a relax environment as they would be open for business as early as 10.00am until 3.00am. I was there for a late dinner. The menu was rather impressive as it has more than 160 types of food and beverages to choose from. There was also a section for those late owls.

It was a surprise that with such a packed crowd that night, service was still up to par. Waiters and waitresses would check on the provided chit upon serving and supervisors would double check on the orders per table. Meals were served within few minutes too.

The first order that came was the Chicken Maryland (RM11.50nett). It was just a normal presentation with side dishes such as salads, mashed potatoes and some greens. As usual, the dish would also have sausage, pineapple and banana fritters on top of the usual breaded chicken. I would think that the sausage could be improved as it tasted “cheap” and the breaded chicken had a hard outer batter while the meat was extremely dry. It tasted as though it was double fried and lost its juiciness. Somehow this dish was not up to my expectation.

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The next one was the Traditional Chicken Curry served with Roti Jala (Net Egg Crepe – RM9.50nett). The dish has only three piece of roti jala, two with pandan (screw pine flavored) and one plain, served with spicy chicken slices curry (8 small slices in fact). The taste was great but the amount could hardly fill my tummy, considering that the dish was served with only 4 thin slices of cucumber. Great taste but too pricey.

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To fill up my tummy, I had to order the Ham & Cheese Toast (RM4.60nett). I was expecting something fragrant and crunchy but in the end I had 3 thick but springy slices of white breads stuffed with a semi fried ham and a piece of cheese. Moreover, there were no vegetables inside, except for some over lime juice taste mayonnaise. I would rather have non toasted bread with butter spread as the whole combination was too dry to my liking.

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There was nothing special in the drinks too. The Iced Cappuccino (RM5.90nett) was really ‘ice filled” and not to my liking as it tasted so “thin”. The Pink Holiday (RM6.90) was a laugh. It tasted like a sugarless Ais Manis (red syrup iced drink) with some fizzy soda. It was nothing special at all.

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Maybe it was just due to my wrong timing to dine there when the place was so packed or my expectation could be too high. Anyway, I was not quite happy with the RM43 paid (plus tips) to have these types of food served. If I were to visit there again, I would surely choose other dishes to test them out again. Let me share with you what they have in their menu.

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Overall, the place would be ideal for meet-ups if the taste of food is not your main concern. The pricing might be a bit high though for the amount of food served and the drink could be a bit “thin”. I would advise can drinks instead. You can opt to dine indoor rather than the al fresco area. There would be two free 1MB WIFI line available, namely Coffee Island 1 and Coffee Island 2. Downloading could be quite fast but uploading is rather slow. There are other “unsecured lines” such as MyBroadband and Gurney67 available but I’m not sure about the speed.

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The shop is strategically located along the sea front of the famous Gurney Drive (next to Crepe Cottage). If you are coming from town center towards Gurney Drive into Jalan Kelawei, turn right at the first junction (Jalan Lim Chin Guan) where Gurney Tower is. Drive towards the end and turn left. You would pass through Evergreen Laurel Hotel and a stretch of hawker centers on your left. Slow down as Crepe Cottage is immediately after the last hawker center (Song River Café). You can park your car next to the café. The car park is in fact behind Crepe Cottage. If you visit this place during weekends, I would advise you to park your car in the Jalan Birch Car Park (the road after Song River Café) and walk up to the cafe.

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Name: COFFEE ISLAND
Address: 77 Persiaran Gurney, 10250 Penang, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 3.00am
Contact: 604-2272378
GPS: 5.432556, 100.316592

RATING:
Ambience: 9/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 9/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 5.5/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 8/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

HOMEMADE KAYA @ WANG CAFE

Posted by Criz Lai On August - 21 - 2008

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If you are a coffee lover, you should not miss out the stall along the outskirt of Tanjung Tokong. This is one of the best stalls which served good thick and creamy local Hainanese coffee. You can have it either iced or hot. The great thing is that you only pay as you would as in any local coffee shops.

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On top of the aromatic coffee, you can also savor their famous “Roti Kiap” aka Toasted Bread with Coconut Jam (Kaya) and Butter. It comes with many versions. You can spread it on top of the toasted bread, in between the bread or even taken with hard boiled eggs. A great choice for tea time.

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The kaya is homemade to perfection as you can taste the richness of the eggs in it. You can buy back the kaya in a small plactic container (RM3.00) or in a big one (RM4.00).

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If you are driving from town towards Tanjung Tokong, you will pass by the traffic light with Island Plaza on your right. Drive further until you reach another traffic light (Tari Burger is on your left). Drive further and you will reach a curve with another traffic light. Keep to your right and turn right into the road. Turn right again and you will see some stalls. Wang’s Café is just at the corner.

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Name: HOMEMADE KAYA @ WANG CAFE
Address: J-6, Gerai UDA Fasa 3, Tanjung Tokong, 10470 Penang, Malaysia.
Contact: 604-898 2318
Opening Hours: 12.00pm – 9.00pm (Closed Sunday)
GPS: 5.461840, 100.307547

RATING:
Ambience: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 classy)
Food Choices: 7/10 (1-4 limited, 5-7 average, 8-10 many choices)
Taste: 8/10 (1-4 tasteless, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)
Pricing: 7/10 (1-4 cheap, 5-7 average, 8-10 expensive)
Service: 8/10 (1-4 bad, 5-7 average, 8-10 excellent)

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